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Italians are in favor of anti-Covid-19 apps even at the cost of privacy

App tracking Covid-19, gli italiani a favore dell’app per la gestione dell’emergenza

The Italians are mostly in favor of using anti Covid-19 apps and are willing to do so also by sacrificing the privacy of personal data in order to reduce contagions and save lives. The development and use of applications to cope with the ongoing health emergency is one of the themes at the center of the Italian debate: following the technical and political discussion, still in progress, it was decided to launch the app immune, available in a few weeks, aimed at tracing any contagion and tracing contacts with other individuals. The Altroconsumo association photographed the opinion of Italians about the use of Covid-19 emergency management applications, involving 1,132 people aged between 18 and 74. As a result, Italians are well prepared to use these solutions, including the Immuni app, albeit with fears regarding the privacy issue.

The consumer defense association first investigated the opinion of Italians about the apps dedicated to the management, tracking and containment of the coronavirus. Data shows that almost 20% of respondents have already downloaded one of the available software and 55% intend to do so. Going, later, to identify the type of applications downloaded by the subjects, a result that most use apps that offer information on the virus (64%), or statistics on the infection (62%). Already from this first phase of analysis emerges the strong predisposition of people to adopt technological measures related to the health situation. In fact, almost 40% also claim to have downloaded apps that require the sharing of personal data and 28% have even consented to geolocation.Covid-19 tracking app, the Italians in favor of the emergency management app

One aspect of great interest on this issue is the identity of the user. The willingness of Italians to use apps related to Covid-19 in relation to the obligation to make shared data identifiable was analyzed. Although there is a tendency to prefer the use of platforms anonymously, the survey shows that as regards some types of apps, the subjects are also willing to disclose the identity. Most respondents would use an application that demonstrates immunity from the coronavirus both anonymously (64%) and non-anonymous (52%). Even if it was mandatory for virus positives to download an app to monitor compliance with the quarantine by the infected, 65% of the respondents would be in favor of anonymous use and 51% would also disclose identity.

We also investigated how Italians are available to give access to their personal data to the anti Covid-19 apps in order to help combat the health emergency. The results show the availability of users towards sharing information in this moment of need: 68% of Italians say that the use of personal data can be of great use in controlling the spread of Covid-19.Italian app covid-19

However, privacy is a topic that worries many. In fact, 84% declare that they agree that the data are never really anonymous and that there is always a way to trace the source. In addition, 64% of respondents show their concern about the consequences that the ongoing crisis may have on privacy rights. Most hope in fact that it is possible to find a technology that uses private data to deal with problems related to coronavirus and that at the same time protects user privacy (73%).

Although there are doubts about the protection of information, more than half of the respondents would agree with the anonymous collection of the position via the GPS data of the telephone companies, to keep track of the behavior in the mobility of people; 30% would do so even without anonymity. These results seem to indicate that in the choice between privacy and health, Italians give more importance to health even at the cost of giving access to some private information. In fact, to the question If the authorities requested the download of an app requesting access to information on movements and geolocation, what would you do ?, 22% would download it if compulsory, while 40% would do it even if it were not. Of these, 85% would always keep the application active.

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